A Really Long Short Story Titled “Cause & Effect” [Chapter 1]

-CHAPTER 1-

For a long time he stood there, naked except for the wet towel around his waist, eyes closed and arms wide, inviting the strong flow of cold air that the window-mounted air conditioner spewed out. He knew that it wasn’t the cleanest air he could breathe, and knew that a lot of dust and potentially harmful things were being hurled at his face at a high speed, but he didn’t mind. It was the cold he wanted, the momentary relief from the unforgiving, sweaty humidity of the summer that forced him to shower twice a day. He didn’t mind the showering part – what he didn’t like was that he sweated so much every day, even if all he did was sit on his desk all day at work. The weather was all that he hated of the city – the city that he had moved to a couple of years earlier in search of a new life. He had found it and much more. He loved the chaotic harmony of the tiny city made up of all those tiny islands in the corner of the country. He loved the fact that he was barely twenty minutes away from a secluded beach. He loved the fact that he could get lost in the crowd in this city and not panic. It was a city of straight lines and parallel tracks. And he loved every inch of it. Except for the bloody weather.

He came out of his trance-like state and walked around the room, discarding the towel and mined his clothes for the day from the wardrobe – a chore that always made him feel a little bit like an archaeologist digging for buried treasure. The room was tiny, but given the standards of the city, a palace. The apartment was a one-room deal with a kitchen and a living room. He shared the bedroom with the only person who made living in the cramped quarters fun – his wife.

He dressed quickly and sat down on his desk, angled the air-conditioner’s vents so that he could feel the cold blast of air on his face and lit a cigarette. Even before he lit it, he knew it was asking for trouble.

He had hardly taken a couple of drags on it when his wife opened the door and entered, wrapped in a wet towel of her own. She stood there, staring at him and his cigarette and folded her arms across her chest and said, “Why the hell are you smoking?”

[to be continued]

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Pursuit Predators And Missing Airplanes

I stumbled as I ran blindly in the dark. The night seemed eerily quiet all around me except for the noise I made as I ran. When I stopped for breath, the pounding in my chest and my rapid deep breaths of panic were all I could hear. I couldn’t perceive anything around me. As I ran ahead, all I could think of was to survive. And I needed to get back to my ship. I had to escape this hell.

I seemed to be in some kind of an overgrown jungle. Wet leaves, branches and fronds slapped me all over as I ran through them. I was thankful for my body suit but I was worried about my air filters. Through the foggy visor of my helmet, I peered down at my chest and saw that the air filter was choked with dirt. I brushed it awkwardly with my gloved finger and immediately felt the the cool rush of breathable air circulate inside my suit. I took a deep, satisfying breath and looked back at the dark jungle through which I had just run.

I could only see the dark silhouettes of the forest and the looming shadows of enormous trees, standing tall as a black shadow of ancient giants against the dark night sky. A few smattering of stars here and there twinkled down at me, as if amused at my plight. I leaned against the trunk of a huge tree and took a few more deep breaths, calming my nerves. My legs trembled less and less with each passing second and I could feel my heart rate slowing down. I didn’t hear the faint whizz of the metal spear but felt the dull thud as it embedded itself with a sickening impact into the tree trunk, barely an inch from my hand. I jumped back, and ran. The creature had been following me and hunting me for over three hours now and it was showing no signs of defeat. Each time I thought I had put sufficient distance between us I was proved wrong. It was always near, lurking around the corners, hiding in the shadows and shooting its high velocity metal spears with a makeshift bow.

I cursed this planet as I ran. We should never have stopped here to explore. It was all Kai’s fault. If only she had half a brain. Well, she was dead now, killed by one of those deadly metal spears that had flown out of nowhere and had lodged itself firmly in her throat. I shook my head and forced myself to stop thinking about Kai. I was alone on an alien planet that was intent on killing me. I had to make my way back to the ship. That was my only hope. I dodged the forest left and right, high and low, retraced my steps to throw the creature off my track, and finally found a tree trunk that I could climb. It  was high enough to hide me from being clearly visible. I thanked the darkness and climbed as high as I dared, hugged the branch and lay still, watching the forest floor beneath me. Every rustle of a leaf and every chirp of an insect seemed to reverberate in my ear. My senses were on hyper alert.

On the horizon, I could see faint snatches of light from various points, glowing over the tops of the trees. Far away in the distance, I thought I heard the whine and growl of machinery, but I couldn’t be sure. We were told this was a primitive planet. We were told that life was almost impossible here due to the heavy, toxic atmosphere and the crushing gravitational pull of the nearest star. We were told to explore without fear and that it would be routine. I’d love to see the faces of those Command Center fucks now.

We were scientists. I was a specialist in alternative energy studies and my sole purpose on this trip was to collect geothermal readings from various planets, analyze them and rate them according to the ease of harvesting. In other words, I was a lab rat. Not a fucking soldier. I didn’t know how to survive in these situations. These creatures were terrifying to say the least.

We first encountered the aliens four hours into our exploration. The landing was routine, without any incidents. Kai and I had strayed far from our ship, collecting samples and making small talk when the clearing in which we stood was doused in bright, harsh light that blinded us. The light seemed to emanate from the forest itself. I could see Kai panicking, screaming and I ran to her to calm her down. We heard the guttural sounds that almost seemed to be a type of vocal communication. We looked up to see three figures walking towards us, gesturing and speaking. All I could make out was the unnaturally long limbs and the row of white, jagged teeth on their heads. I felt Kai shuddering suddenly in my arms and when I looked down, I saw the metal spear sticking out of her. I felt her body go limp. The creatures had killed her without warning. Without provocation. I ran.

I felt an insurmountable anger boil inside me as I lay on the tree branch. Anger at myself, at those short-sighted Command Center nuts and anger at these vile, merciless aliens and their makeshift weapons. I wanted to destroy it all.

I stiffened as I heard the rustle of the leaves somewhere to my left. It was different from the usual rustle of the wind. This was unnatural. I lay very still and saw the leaves part and the creature step forward slowly. It seemed to be looking at the floor, trying to discern my footprints. This type of pursuit predators were the scariest – they never tired, they never gave up and they hunted you down from your footprints and the twigs your feet snapped while you ran. The creature held the makeshift weapon in one hand as it slowly moved on two feet looking this way and that, and passed beneath my tree. I could see the top of it’s head as it passed under me. I was tempted to jump down and fight it, but held myself. I didn’t know how many more of them were out there.

I looked around in the general direction of my intended escape. The ship was somewhere off to the right and from my vantage point here, I could faintly see the outline of the ship’s tail. It was close. Closer than I thought! I felt a renewed surge of hope in me. I made sure that the creature had gone before I descended as quietly as I could and started jogging towards the ship. My heart skipped a beat when I heard the loud guttural shout from behind me. I didn’t look back. I ran as fast as I could. I could hear two, three, four, countless creatures behind me, all shouting and crashing after me. Where did so many of them come from?

I felt a searing pain shoot through my arm and when I looked down, I almost fainted in fright. I saw a thin metallic spear stuck in my arm. It had pierced the palm of my hand clean through! I didn’t dare pull it out. The pain was excruciating. I felt loud bangs from behind and I felt the forest explode all around me. One moment there was a lean tree trunk and the next, a loud bang from behind and the tree trunk exploded in splinters that rained over me as I ran headlong into the forest. I prayed and prayed that I was going in the right direction.The noise behind me was deafening.

I ran through the pain in my hand. I could feel the numbness creeping up my arm from the point where the spear had pierced through. I felt faint but forced myself to keep running. Escape! That was the only thing on my mind.

After what seemed like an eternity and almost when I thought of giving up and surrendering to the aliens, I broke through the tree line and almost collided with my ship. I screamed out in ecstasy and agony and clambered around the hulking machine and into the open bay door at the back. I saw the aliens break through the tree line and stop as they saw the ship. Through the closing bay door, I saw them hesitate. They seemed to be awestruck at the sight of the ship. One of the aliens saw the bay door that was closing and caught sight of my face through the rapidly closing slit. The metal spear it fired  pinged harmlessly off the ship and I heard the satisfying bangs and the thuds of the door closing and the bolts driving home. 

I stumbled my way to the cockpit and hit the big red button on the dashboard. Everything would be automated now. The ship would take me home.

I slumped down on to the floor and looked at my hand. I could see the metal spear sticking out from both sides of my palm, firmly lodged. The ship trembled slightly as the fuel heated up and the ignition kicked in. I almost felt sorry for the alien creatures standing outside the ship. They would all be fried to nothingness in about ten seconds. It was a pity. I could have observed them and studied them, had it been under different circumstances. I thought I heard them scream as the ship fired on all cylinders and cooked them to a crisp and lifted off. I breathed a sigh of relief as it picked up speed. In about fifteen seconds, it would automatically open up the wormhole into our world and shoot into it. I could hardly wait to get home and get someone to pull this fucking spear out of my hand.

I stood up gingerly and saw out of the cockpit window at the fascinating landscape of the vast blue planet beneath me. An entire planet that had evolved to breathe the most corrosive gas in the universe – oxygen. I shuddered at the thought.

I saw the brilliant golden glow of the wormhole opening up in front of me. Just as the ship neared it, out of the corner of my eye, I saw some movement out on the horizon. The last thing I saw before being sucked into the wormhole was a huge metal cylinder hurtling through the air at a ferocious speed – almost like an aircraft – crashing into the ship at what seemed like a million miles per hour and the entirety of the fire and the debris being sucked into the wormhole. Drifting in the void of the wormhole, I saw the remains of the object that had collided with my ship. Hundreds and hundreds of those alien creatures floated away in the zero gravity of the wormhole, all dead. It couldn’t have been an aircraft, I thought to myself. This was supposed to be a primitive planet. Someone is going to have a lovely time trying to find this plane, I thought, smiling to myself as I blacked out, and hoped at the back of my mind that my arm and all my thirty-one fingers would be intact.

MH370-Malaysia_Airlines-mas-last-location-graphics-updated-080314-kamarul_540_342_100

Chai Around The World

Chai Around The World

Howdy Folks!

I’m alive. Surprise!

So, here’s the deal. I rarely come here on MirrorCracked these days. I had forgotten my password – I got in on the 4th attempt. I don’t know what’s happening on the scene anymore. Are you guys all still here and blogging? I don’t know how many will even read this – I’m sure a lot of people would have given this blog up as dead. I hope not.

I blog at a new location now. I’ve been traveling. A lot. And not on my own. Wink 😉

Check out Chai Around The World. Let me know what you think of it. I plan to return here soon enough. I’m mustering up the courage to revisit the old haunts, read up on all your blogs and update my abandoned blogroll very soon. Within this week, I promise. Just because I don’t blog here often doesn’t mean I don’t love you all.

Go. Read my other blog. Tell me your thoughts.

Free beer for all.

Twilight Dawn

Twilight DawnOppression filled the foggy twilit dawn, the recherché feminism of the morning light danced an undulating number with the mood of the solitary cyclist as he wound his way up the serpentine path to the crest of the craggy peak, bathed in the soft glow of the fiercely burning star billions of miles away, still under the horizon. The tires of the mountain bike crunched the partly-dewed leaves, much as innocence caught under sin’s cruel tires, all its spirit squeezed out.

The cyclist himself was an old hand at judging the curves – both of the road and of the weather – and immediately realized that the hiding sun was an aftermath to something oppressive that was in the offing. That’s when he felt the oppression. The Shah of Persia had once prophesized that an oppressive feeling was an indication of impending misfortune, but the cyclist had neither heard of nor had cared for the kingdom of Persia. So when he hit the pick-up truck that was barreling down the slope head-on, he attributed the accident to plain bad luck.

The cyclist’s name was Michener, and he was a hopeful for that year’s French circuit, when his career and his life had been cut short by an obese, drunk, hardly conscious idiot thought he could do a seventy on the slope, on the way down. The first thing Michener was aware of was an intense pain in his head – in fact, the pain seemed to originate from his head and spread its claws all over his numb body. Numb, that when he recognized the perpetual numbness. He couldn’t move an inch, let alone open his eyelids. There was a consistent hum in his ears that blocked out all other noise, but even the loudness of the hum didn’t feel in the least painful. It was, on the contrary, a soothing cacophony that seemed to say, “Hush, now. It’ll all be over soon.”

Through the pain, Michener amassed enough strength to force his eyelids open. He was staring at a black expanse of nothingness. The blackness confused his numb brain – he couldn’t tell for sure if his eyes were open or closed. All he was sure of was that, he could “see” the darkness clearly enough to deduce that he was, perhaps, blind. Though this thought didn’t particularly affect him, it shook him up a bit. To live a life without having to see it, to see the beautiful face of his two-year-old daughter, the twilight dawn, and a lot of other million things worth seeing, forced some tears to his eyes. Funnily enough, he couldn’t feel the warm tears flowing down his face, but could taste the bittersweet on his tongue.

This brought new hope to Michener, and at the same time, a new sinking feeling. Hope, that he was still alive, and had the use of his mouth, which probably he could use to call out, and despair by the thought that since he was alive, he had most definitely lost the use of his eyes and ears. Then, all of a sudden, the humming in his ears stopped and was replaced by memories – memories of the time when he had first heard John Denver sing “I’m leaving on a jet plane”, the time when he had first heard his mother put him to sleep with the story of the Three Little Pigs – her voice was particularly vivid – and the time when he had his daughter cal him “Da-Da” for the first time – and he found himself trying to smile, only he couldn’t tell if he was already smiling or not. The numbness was perpetual. The hum returned with a vengeance and filled his soul with a detached horror – a horror he couldn’t feel; a horror he would have given anything to feel.

Michener had heard the expression “Light at the end of the Tunnel” for years, and was not surprised to learn that it was a load of hogwash. There wasn’t any such tunnel, let alone light. His mind freed, his soul released, his life over, Michener found enough strength to close his eyelids – again, he couldn’t tell if they were closed or not, for the blackness lingered. Salacious thoughts entered his mind and he quickly snubbed them away. He forced himself to think of something else – he remembered the time his saloppete had torn on the ski slope and he had been the laughing stock of the entire lodge back in the valley, and he tried to smile.

His soul felt a lot lighter when he could sense it! He felt the smile spread slowly across the face! He could feel the gentle stretching of the skin across his cheek. And then, he saw her.

And when he did, he knew he was really dead. There she was, the only woman he had ever loved – his wife, who had been cruelly wrenched away from him and his daughter a year ago, also, ironically, by an accident. He had always blamed himself for her death; he should have never let her cross the street alone. But when he saw her standing there in all her beauty and radiance, he could see that delicate nose, those deep brown eyes he had missed all these days, and the lithe figure he had fallen in love with. His soul felt a thousand times lighter and he felt himself standing up – it took hardly any effort – and he walked up to her.

“What about Amy?” were the first words out of her mouth.

“Oh, she’ll be fine,” said Michener. “I’ve finally seen it.”

“Seen what?” she asked.

He held her tight and kissed her on the lips long and hard, then hugged her. He could still smell the intoxicating perfume that lingered in her golden hair. He would never let her go again. Amy would be taken care of by his mother, who would be heart-broken at first, but she had always been a woman of astounding mental strength. It never is bliss to attend a funeral, but for a parent to arrange the funeral of her son was punishment enough for her unnamed sins of her past years. Her chastity and her unquestionable purity of this life was a mockery to that effect.

“I’ve seen the light at the end of the tunnel, darling. It’s you,” he said and they both held each other.

Image Courtesy: TrekEarth.com

Vie Hebdomadaires & The Indian James Bond

I have been invited to blog on Vie Hebdomadaires this week. Just a few minutes ago, I published my first post for the week there. I’m cross-posting it here because I don’t want to write something new and use my brain more than necessary. I’m sure the lazy ones out there will understand.

Three things I grew up with, which weren’t a pain in the ass: WordPress, Biker Mice From Mars and Milky Way chocolate bars. I think that pretty much explains who I am.

Three cheers for Rohit for nominating me to write on this blog. I don’t usually take part if deviant blogging experiments, but this one caught my fancy. Also, I forgot the mail Varun and decline the opportunity. So, I told myself that I would find the time to blog once a day here on Vie Hebdomadaires.

The fourth thing I grew up with was James Bond. Each and every movie, each and every Ian Fleming book, at least thrice. It laid the foundation to explore slightly better literature – the likes of Forsyth and Ludlum. I grew up with a false sense of paranoia, imagining myself in a conspiracy, spies watching me from the shadows, the sense of being followed, the non-existent sixth sense of being tracked and monitored. I probably needed a high dose of electroshock therapy as a kid, but I was smart enough not to tell anyone about my fears. Or paranoid enough.

Unfortunately, I made the mistake of talking about this to someone recently. For reasons of secrecy privacy, let’s just call this person as The Goof. I met Goof for a coffee a few days ago in Bangalore, and in the process of making pleasant talk, I told him about my theory. I pointed out three people in the coffee shop, sitting at various tables around us, and indicated to him how well we were being followed and watched. The three spies had boxed us in so well that we couldn’t make a move without either of them seeing it.

Goof listened to me, fascinated, mouth open, and after what seemed like a really long time, said, “Dude, you need stronger coffee.”

I haven’t spoken to Goof since that day, and I don’t know if I ever will. It’s not because he is convinced that I don’t have a fully-functional brain. It’s because the phrase “Dude, you need stronger coffee” seems so much like a code for something. I can’t help but think its something sinister. I have to check the street for strange people and idling cars.

Play safe. Cheers!

Originally posted on Vie Hebdomadaires, on October 3, 2011 at 7:20 PM

Twilight Saga: Bella’s Revenge

For those of you who haven’t seen the Twilight Saga movies, here’s a quick update:

Twilight: There’s this girl who falls in love with a vampire.

Twilight – New Moon: This girl now falls in love with a werewolf.

Twilight – Eclipse: The vampire and werewolf fight over the girl, but eventually team up together to save her from other bad vampires who are hell bent on killing her for some obscure reason. The werewolf is so much cooler, but the stupid girl rejects him and continues to be in love with the vampire.

Great. Now that you’ve been brought up to speed on the three movies, here’s a sneak preview of the secret, unreleased book and movie. This story happens in between ‘Eclipse’ and the soon-to-be-released ‘Breaking Dawn‘.

We left off the last movie with Jacob, the werewolf, lying in a bed with his bones broken by an evil vampire. The girl, Bella Swan, sitting beside him and telling him that she chooses to be with Edward, the vampire. She then meets Edward and tells him that she’s ready to marry him. Stephanie Meyer did not want me to reveal this, but there were three distinct events that happened on the same day that Bella Swan agreed marry Edward. In chronological order, they are:

  1. Before leaving home that morning, Bella Swan would have poisoned her father’s coffee mug, dosing the rim with a peculiarly rare venom from a werewolf’s anus, hoping that it was the humane thing to do. She did not want him to die a painful death at the hands of an evil vampire. Little did she know that her father did not drink coffee. He only drank beer. If she had spent a little more time getting to know her father and a little less time with wild creatures, she would have known that he used the coffee mug as a vaginal alternative. Well, he did, and he developed a painful infection on his private parts and died of complications on the way to the ICU. Well, she accomplished her job, but it definitely wasn’t the humane way to go.
  2. Bella’s classmates at Forks High had been mean to her in the third movie, calling her deranged and stupid, questioning her integrity and her character. So, to exact her revenge on them, Bella tells Edward after agreeing to marry him, that she’ll only do it if he kills the four assholes in school for being mean to her. Edward jumps at the opportunity to taste human blood, and ambushes the four students in a dark alley behind the local movie theater and rips them apart. He literally eats them up and drinks their blood. There is no evidence left at the scene and very little blood splatter. For obvious reasons.
  3. Owing to the particularly heavy meal that night, Edward the vampire develops a bad stomach ache and goes into the woods to take a dump. In his discomfort, he does not realize that he is knee-deep in his own shit in werewolf territory. Jacob the werewolf, gets his scent, and despite the broken bones, attacks him viciously. It’s a battle to the death and at the end of an hour, both the vampire and the werewolf lie next to each other, broken, bruised and gasping for their last breaths. Bella comes out of the shadows, smiles vilely at them both and shoots them in the head.

Stephanie Meyer could not reveal these incidents as they would have put an end to the ridiculous franchise. Instead, she built up a cock-and-bull story of how Bella gets pregnant and … Oh, I almost killed the suspense of the last movie. Go, pay your hard-earned money and watch it for yourselves, but trust me, it’s a falsification of the facts. It’s sensationalism of the truth. It’s pure and unadulterated yellow journalism.

Ode To A Lost Savior

He came in the middle of the day,
When it was bright & sunny.
He took up the post, tough as it may,
And vowed to protect me, from death and tyranny.

For 1300 days he did not flinch from danger,
Through pain and suffering, hurt and anguish,
To hell, blood, scratches and tears, he was no stranger,
Nor was the dungeon where was stored to languish.

He fell for me, took a bullet for me,
He held my hand through love and hate.
Many a time, my own immortality he did make me see.
When I had accepted mediocrity as my fate.

He would have endured much more.
Of life’s toughest roads and hurdles.
If only some loser so sore,
Had not stolen my savior when he hung on my bike’s handles.

Dear Helmet,

Wherever you are, I hope you are good. I admit I didn’t always take good care of you. I have abused you much and never ever given you a proper wash. I assure you that when I threw you at that hot girl at the bar in 2009, it was purely an accident – I was aiming for the gay guy next to her. Of all the things I’m sorry about, I’m sorry I took you for granted. You have saved my thick skull from many a crack and I am deeply indebted to you for that.

For all your selfless acts of bravery and courage, having you stolen was the last thing I should’ve have done. I hope you find a good home for yourself.

Keep writing to me from time to time. I do miss you. And if by chance I pass you on the streets of Bangalore sometime, be prepared to see an awesome deathmatch where I pummel your current owner to submission, break his hand for stealing you and bring you home in glorious victory.

Until then, I am always –

Deeply Grateful,
Nikhil

PS: On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest, how LAME do you think the post is? Let me know in the comments section.

PPS: I don’t care what you vote. I miss my fucking helmet.